There was a lively Save Our Care Homes protest outside the City Chambers on Tuesday as the Edinburgh Integrated Joint Board met for its August meeting.
There were deputations to the board from Des Loughney and Kathy Jenkins from Edinburgh TUC, and from Unison and Unite the two unions that represent workers in the care homes. [Click on the links to read the deputation statements].
The board agreed to postpone a decision on the closure of five out the nine local authority care homes in Edinburgh until the end of the year and use the additional time to engage in consultation. Initially the board was going to make the decision at its’ June meeting. There had been no meaningful consultation at that point. So, the delay and the new interest in consultation is a real victory for the campaign.
The board’s initial rush to close the homes and the way they informed workers and residents only days before the June meeting was callous and incompetent. The way the board has operated has highlighted the lack of democracy and accountability in the governance of social care. And good quality people centred care seems to have been largely absent from their considerations. No reference to the experience of Covid and none to the fact that the homes slated for closure have generally had much higher ratings for care quality than their private sector counterparts.
Saving the homes is the first priority of the campaign but in doing so we are also fighting for the future of care in Scotland. We have written to the leaders of all the political groups on the council asking that their group makes a clear, public statement of opposition to the closures.
Here are some of the contributions made at the rally – first Councillor Gordon Munro
then Mary Alexander from Unite
Willie Black from Another Edinburgh is Possible
and a speaker from the City of Edinburgh Council Unison branch